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“We had it canned…above the store”

January 8, 2009

When I was in my teenage years, and had the guts to fearlessly dive into ‘Great Expectations’ or ‘Moby Dick’, I would open a book to the first page and close it when I got to the last.
Now, as I am older, I find myself trepidatious when confronting a tome which requires some effort on my part. No longer am I the bold explorer, for worry that the journey may not be worth the hardship. It is not uncommon to find me repeatedly picking up and putting down a book that I intend to read, thumbing through it, scanning random paragraphs, “kicking it’s tires”, so to speak, before climbing behind the wheel.
It was during one of these “false starts” that I stumbled upon a strange passage in a book entitled ‘Endymion’s Children’ by one ‘Joseph Stanley Werm’, written in the year 1777.
I give here an excerpt, and leave it up to the reader to decide for him or herself whether it is relevant.

Philip Gerard speeds down the road in his camper truck. Zydeco music blares from his radio, and he taps his hands on the wheel in time with the rhythm.
Through the dirty windshield he spies a roadside diner advertising, on a decrepit sign “Clams-All U Can Eat-$5.99”

(to himself)
I’ve been waiting a lifetime for an
opportunity such as this!

He careens into the parking lot, kicking up gravel and dust into the sticky, dead air. Clambering out of his truck, he gazes up at the sign in quiet awe, the occasional car whizzing by behind him.

Gerard enters slowly, solemnly, as if expecting something. The interior of the diner is filthy; men in soiled overalls and sweat stained baseball caps sit at long, metal picnic tables consuming piles of crawfish. The cracking of exoskeletons and slurping of innards can be heard over the drone of an improperly balanced exhaust fan. Mountains of discarded shells and viscera are carelessly tossed into gore encrusted buckets in the centre of each of the tables. Gerard steps up to the counter. Billows of steam pour from the portal leading to the kitchen. A burly chef in a sailor’s cap pokes his head out of this portal and points at Gerard, awaiting his order.

Are the clams fresh?

I’d like to think so.

I can’t stand clams if they’re not
fresh… they become like rubber when
you cook them… chewing becomes

Yeah? Well, I think these clams are fresh.

Where do these clams come from?

The cook is becoming very annoyed.

I don’t know. I don’t know where these clams
come from.


From the Ocean! These clams come from
the Ocean.

Gerard strokes his beard and contemplates the ragged, yellowed menu scotch-taped to the wall.

Hmmm…Give me some clams.

Here endeth the excerpt.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Beautiful Mind permalink
    February 26, 2009 9:22 pm

    Published in 1777? Damned prescient I’d say!

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